Derek Halpern claims he’s found the “perfect blog post”. Halpern says the ideal blog post contains nine essential elements. His conclusions are based on research into psychological factors, conversion optimization, and typographical preferences.
The Perfect Blog Post in 9 Parts
- A headline that grabs attention;
- A compelling opening in the first 3-4 lines;
- A “half-width” image (actually 33%) aligned to the right, reducing line length for readability;
- A big promise in the form of a benefit in the first sub-headline;
- Triggering emotion in your first piece of content;
- A clickable tweet;
- A big promise in the form of a how-to in the second sub-headline;
- Next is content that contains useful and easy to implement advice;
- A call to action at the close.
Check out the format in this full page image of the “perfect blog post.”
What do you think? Do you write your blog posts to conform to an “ideal” model? I’m half in and half out, myself.
The Problem with the Perfect Blog Post
Yes, captivate your audience from the get-go. Isn’t that wise in any genre, not just blogging? A spellbinding cadence will always separate the exceptional writer from the pack. And, give your best, not only at the beginning of a post, but throughout the piece.
Is the half-width image necessary? Many successful bloggers – like Leo Babauta and Seth Godin – do not use images at all. I myself prefer left-aligned images at the start of a blog post over the recommend right-aligned “must”. I’m left-handed.
You see, there are always exceptions to the “rules”. So you might consider, are you trying to reach the rule followers or the rule breakers?
The idea that a clickable tweet is crucial to the flawless blog post makes me want to gag. Admittedly, we’re all self-marketing to a degree, but blatant self-promotion inspires me to click away faster than the speed of light.
Like me, as you read through Halpern’s structure for the perfect blog post, chances are some aspects will resonate and others won’t.
So can a formula like Halpern’s help you construct the quintessential blog post?
Having studied with exceptional bloggers like Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch, I know there’s a craft to blogging. It pays to apprentice and learn from the best. Reading and learning from articles like this one on the “perfect blog post” can inform your blogging style.
However, following a template too rigidly can mar your authenticity from the standpoint of readers and endanger the emergence of your true voice. Readers aren’t stupid. While some may initially be captured by psychological tactics, in the end, they may also feel bamboozled.
The Invisible Qualities that Magnetize Serious Blog Readers
Far beyond the structure of a perfect blog post, there’s an energy that emanates from between the lines. I believe it’s these invisible qualities that magnetize genuinely interested readers and create the basis for real human connection. Consider how you respond to:
- Authenticity over strategy;
- Heart over theory;
- Authentic message over regurgitation;
- A genuine wish to help over conversion obsession;
- Flow over artificial structure.
These virtues add up to a genuine voice that cares.
Halpern’s article on the perfect blog post brings up important questions for me. How much do I want to use psychological tactics to manipulate the reader for the sake of conversion? How meaningful and long lasting is this form of rapid conversion? I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s signed up to get the free ebook only to unsubscribe the next day.
Seth Godin says he does “it” (blogging) wrong relentlessly. He says he blogs incorrectly on purpose. Godin’s advice:
“The interesting lesson: One way to work the system is to work the system. The other way is to refuse to work it.”
That might simply be another strategy. A way to stand out from the crowd. But it does point to the fact that there is no single formula for the perfect blog post. There is no single way to get ahead in the blogosphere. Carve your own path.
What do you think constitutes the “perfect blog post”? Do you follow a model when you write a post? Do you think it’s ethical to ues psychological tactics to win readers? How far do you go?
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